Stochastic Dynamic Models of Response Time and Accuracy: A Foundational Primer

J Math Psychol. 2000 Sep;44(3):408-463. doi: 10.1006/jmps.1999.1260.


A large class of statistical decision models for performance in simple information processing tasks can be described by linear, first-order, stochastic differential equations (SDEs), whose solutions are diffusion processes. In such models, the first passage time for the diffusion process through a response criterion determines the time at which an observer makes a decision about the identity of a stimulus. Because the assumptions of many cognitive models lead to SDEs that are time inhomogeneous, classical methods for solving such first passage time problems are usually inapplicable. In contrast, recent integral equation methods often yield solutions to both the one-sided and the two-sided first passage time problems, even in the presence of time inhomogeneity. These methods, which are of particular relevance to the cognitive modeler, are described in detail, together with illustrative applications. Copyright 2000 Academic Press.